Test your Nerd Knowledge: March 1, 2022

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

  1. What is the name of the hardware device, invented in 1991, whose primary function was watching to see if the coffee in the office had finished brewing?
  2. What is the name of the company founded in 1984 that rolled out its first smartphone in 2002?
  3. What is the name of the accounting software introduced in 1998 by Intuit?

And here are the answers:

  1. The Webcam. Legend has it that Dr. Quentin Stafford-Fraser and Dr. Paul Jardetzky dreamed up the idea for a camera to watch their coffee pot while working at a computer lab, known as the Trojan Room, at Cambridge University in Great Britain. Once switched on, the camera would display a grayscale picture of the coffee pot on the user’s desktop. As soon as the World Wide Web came along, the service was connected to the internet. The first commercially produced webcam was the QuickCam by Connectix, which was marketed in 1994. It could only be used with an Apple Macintosh and recorded a whopping 15 frames per second. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a laptop that does not have a webcam installed. It has even reached the point where you can buy webcam covers to hide from prying eyes.
  2. BlackBerry. Though the company had been around since 1984, the device known as the BlackBerry was born in January 1999, with the release of the BlackBerry 850. In the years that followed, the brand blew up, offering something all its competitors couldn’t touch: Emails on the go. The company peaked around 2012, with 80,000,000 users worldwide, including, famously, President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Since that time, the iPhone and Android technologies obliterated the BlackBerry, but its legend lives on in the hearts and minds of smartphone users everywhere!
  3. QuickBooks. QuickBooks was a spin-off of an existing product called Quicken. While Quicken was designed primarily for individual users, QuickBooks offered solutions for small businesses. It quickly became popular among business owners who had little accounting experience. The product was improved in 2000, to include audit trails, double entries, and other accounting-industry compliant items. Intuit developed packages that were tailored to the needs of specific industries, and later developed the Pro Series, which is designed for accounting professionals who work for many small businesses at the same time.