Test your Nerd Knowledge — Jan 18, 2022

Here’s a review of this week’s questions:

  1. In 1978, Harvard student Dan Bricklin invented a computer application loved and hated by legions of users ever since. What program was it?
  2. What major computer company did Lenovo acquire in 2005?
  3. What does TFT mean on a laptop?

And here are the answers:

  1. The spreadsheet. Dan Bricklin is often referred to as, “the father of the spreadsheet,” as he was the co-creator of VisiCalc in 1979. Bricklin and partner Bob Frankston represented a company called Software Arts, which teamed with Apple to offer the “killer app” on its Apple II computer system. The program sold for $100 ($382 today) and eventually sold over a million copies. Dan Bricklin eventually went on to run Software Garden, Trellix and Alpha Software.
  2. IBM. The IBM-Lenovo deal in 2005 will go down as a win-win scenario. Lenovo bought IBM’s PC business and an iconic ThinkPad brand and leveraged it to be the No. 1 PC maker. By shedding the PC business, IBM transformed into a hardware, software and services outfit. Big Blue is also looking for a sequel of its own as it sheds commodity servers to focus on analytics, mobile, security and cloud.
  3. Thin film transistor. A TFT is a transistor that is deposited onto a substrate in thin layers. TFT transistors are commonly used in active matrix LCD screens, which are sometimes called “TFT screens.” As a semiconductor device, the TFT uses solid-state electronics, meaning that electricity flows through the structure of the semiconductor layer rather than vacuum tubes. TFT’s have played a major role is screen technologies used in laptops, tablets and computer monitors for over 50 years.