Google Commemoration Day

It’s hard to remember a time before Google. We used to either own a set of encyclopedias or wait for the library to open before being able to look something up. Now it’s as easy as firing up a browser and typing your query in the search box. Although the domain name was registered on Sept. 15, 1997, and the company incorporated on Sept. 4, 1998, the default day to commemorate the site has become Sept. 7.

Google began in 1995 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Like Yahoo, Google was first housed at Stanford.

Some facts about Google:

  • There are more than 1 billion searches each day on Google.
  • 20 percent of unique queries are new to the site every day.
  • Every query has to travel on average 1,500 miles to get the answer back to the user.
  • Google rents goats to graze the lawn at headquarters instead of using mechanical mowers.

I can’t imagine being without Google. Whether it is finding places on a map with directions, actually seeing what is on the ground at a particular location, translating a word from one language to another, doing conversions such as dollars to pounds to euros, or Fahrenheit to Celsius, or tracking a package or so many other things – you can find them with a few keystrokes at any time of the day or night.

Of course, Google also stands for fun. Google doodles are an art form in themselves. And when you are feeling frivolous, try a few of their “Easter eggs.” For instance, in a Google search box type in “do a barrel roll” without the quotes and see what happens. Or type in “google gravity” and hit the I’m feeling lucky button.

So my advice to you this day is “Just google it!”

Quotes about Google

America pays defense contractors to build aircraft carriers. Google pays brilliant programmers to do whatever the hell they want.–Robin Sloan

I wondered and I prayed and I Googled.–Jennifer Lynn Barne

Trivia are not knowledge. Lists of facts don’t comprise knowledge. Analyzing, hypothesizing, concluding from data, sharing insights, those comprise knowledge. You can’t google for knowledge.–dElaine Ostrach Chaika

We designed Google to be the kind of place where the kind of people we wanted to work here would work for free.–Urs Hölzle

In old days, instead of asking a teacher, people looked at the dictionary to know the complete definition of teacher. Now Google becomes our teacher and to know about Google, people Google it.–Munia Khan

Times have changed in research and if you are not using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Wikipedia, Google, and the like, you will be left in the dark.–Steven Magee

Google tried to do everything. It proved itself the deepest and fastest of the search engines. It stomped the competition in email. It made a decent showing in image hosting, and … utterly owned maps. … It added an indelible, funny, loose-limbed, and exact verb into the vocabulary: to google. No one “bings” or “yahoos” anything.–Teju Cole

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.–Neil Gaiman

Travelling the road will tell you more about the road than the google will tell you about the road.–Amit Kalantri

We want Google to be the third half of your brain.–Sergey Brin

Search engines find the information, not necessarily the truth.–Amit Kalantri

After obsessively Googling symptoms for four hours, I discovered ‘obsessively Googling symptoms’ is a symptom of hypochondria.–Stephen Colbert

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Lotus 1-2-3 Day

January 26 is Lotus 1-2-3 Day. Probably many reading this will never have heard of Lotus, let alone used it, but I’ve been working with computers a lo-o-o-ng time, and in fact cut my teeth, so to speak on version 1A, so this brought back memories for me. In the old days (in computer years) I used WordStar, Lotus 1-2-3, and dBase II and wrote programs in BASIC, so that’s how ancient of a nerd I am!

The computer I first used this on was an IBM 8088, one step newer than the original 8086. It was the very early days of personal computers, and though I didn’t realize it at the time when Lotus was introduced in 1983, it was the original killer app which shot sales of PCs through the roof. It completely eclipsed its nearest spreadsheet competitor VisiCalc.

You probably already know Lotus is a spreadsheet program, written to deal mainly with numbers and math. It was a major innovation for businesses, which could now do calculations which would have taken hours by hand with a single command. It also allowed them to help forecast the future by seeing what would happen if sales went up by 10%, or you reduced the price of something by the same amount. Also, realtors found it very helpful in assisting clients to decide on down payments and mortgages.

Lotus was retired in 2013, thirty years after its introduction, in favor of Excel, which came as part of Microsoft Office. I use it now for budgeting and practically anything else that works best as data presented in a table format. I can’t imagine what I would do without it.


Quotes about computers in general

Spreadsheet:  a kind of program that lets you sit at your desk and ask all kinds of neat “what if?” questions and generate thousands of numbers instead of actually working.–Dave Barry

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done.–Andy Rooney

If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee — that will do them in.–Bradley’s Bromide

Why is it drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?–Clifford Stoll

To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.–Bill Vaughan

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.–Isaac Asimov

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don’t add up.–James Magary

No computer has ever been designed that is ever aware of what it’s doing; but most of the time, we aren’t either.–Marvin Minsky

Never let a computer know you’re in a hurry.–Unknown

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.–Joseph Campbell

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
–David Dixon

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history – with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.–Mitch Ratcliffe

A computer will do what you tell it to do, but that may be much different from what you had in mind.–Joseph Weizenbaum

The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.–Sydney J. Harris

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