Test Your Nerd Knowledge: Sept. 13, 2022

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

  1. What was the 1990s computer company that offered hardware and internet service in a bundle, and announced that its mission was to “democratize technology”?
  2. What organization held its first trade show in 1967 and now hosts the tech world every January in Las Vegas?
  3. What was the name of the very first fitness tracker, invented by Japanese scientist Dr. Yoshiro Hatano?

And here are the answers: 

  1. Answer: PeoplePC. The idea was simple: a membership club that requires a three-year, $24.95-per-month subscription in exchange for a personal computer, internet access and special discounts on products and services. Founded by Max Metral, David Waxman and Nick Grouf, the company made a splash around the turn of this century, perhaps due to its super cute TV commercials. Featuring child actor Marc John Jefferies playing himself, as a sophisticated customer of the company’s unsophisticated pricing plan, he helped PeoplePC to achieve monumental business success. PeoplePC is still in operation, based in Atlanta and managed by original founder Nick Grouf.
  2. Answer: Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In 1998, CES made Las Vegas its permanent home after 30 years of moving around from New York to Chicago to Las Vegas. The highlights of each year’s show read like a timeline of computer history, as CES was the first site where the marketplace was introduced to products like the Commodore 64, Nintendo Playstation and Galaxy S2 smartphone. The conference, which has a corresponding Asian event called CES Asia, is set to kick off in Vegas on Jan. 5, 2023.
  3. Answer: Manpo-kei. Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 steps meter,” was invented in 1965 by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, a Japanese professor at the Kyushu University of Health and Welfare. He posited that 10,000 steps provided the proper balance of caloric intake and activity-based calorie expenditure to maintain a healthy body. Modern fitness trackers still use 10,000 steps as a benchmark goal. While standard fitness trackers have remained popular, the advent of smart watches, which include fitness-tracking capabilities, have pushed devices that only track fitness into obsolescence.